Opinion: Skyrim tailored for consoles: you’re doing it wrong, Bethesda

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8 mins read

It is often difficult to chart the infamous ramblings of Yahtzee Croshaw, let alone remember them accurately. So I hope he forgives me when I mercilessly paraphrase and misquote his treatise on PC gamers. The gist was: “PC gamers believe themselves to be the glorious master race, not content with their games until the dirty console gaming peasants are purged from the landscape.”

For the sake of prolonging stereotype I’ll run with that. When PC gamers get shitty over pathetic, asinine things, it’s mostly because they’re raging on the consoles. Even as a PC’er myself I cannot suppress the urge to type STFU into the forum and hit POST whenever I see this because of the simple fact that we don’t seem to understand that certain games exist on consoles because they are better played on consoles rather than the PC.

However, there is a line in the sand.

That mark on the almost nonsensical analogy of a beach is crossed when a game is created that is perfect for the PC in almost every way but is screwed over by the existence of a console market. The astute readers of the title of this piece have guessed where I am going with this: and yes it is Skyrim.

Skyrim is the realisation of a five year wait and countless hours of hard development work; and of course an RPG fans’ wet dream. What gets my goat (metaphorically and literally) is the wisdom of doing a console to PC port, rather than the reverse. Here’s the obvious main problem: if you port from console to PC, you are stuck with console hardware limitations. I shan’t bother to go through the entire list but with few seconds thought it becomes painfully obvious how little a workout a PC will get from a game made like this. The system requirements are absolutely laughable.

When the figure of 6 gig was released I thought it was a typo. Surely they meant 16 or even a game of this scale, a monstrous 26? Nope. Turns out when they said 6 they meant 6. The immediate thought is: textures. With this thought a part of me died. The compactness of Skyrim means that it is doubtlessly like its predecessor Oblivion and its clone Fallout 3 – a bunch of middling res textures repeated everywhere.

Fallout 3, that graphical trainwreck used perhaps a half dozen textures for the main expanse of the overworld, and man, it was so bad it made me want to gouge out my eyes with a typewriter. Terrible and absurd. Why the small HDD size? To fit on a single Xbox disc of course. With this implication of small sizes and textures repeated so often that you can mentally draw a perfect image of it, this logically means that particle prettiness will suffer, AI will suffer, everything will suffer. I feel like a doomsday prophet writing this but small sized games can have some serious problems in this manner.

The only way they could possibly deliver anything decent would require the code to be written damn tight. I have heard that the ground-up engine will deliver but I am sceptical. If it had been developed PC to console it would have been an easy enough fix by simply hacking out features from the to-console port and thus avoiding the watering down of the PC version. It would take more time to implement, but hey, guys, you have had five years.

Another issue is interface. I have heard that Bethesda in its infinite glory and wisdom have not remodelled the control scheme for PC, rather keeping the console HUD and navigation exactly as it is. I cannot express my disdain without several paragraphs of unutterable expletives, so I will spare you my balls of inventive cursing and give you instead my reasons for them. A PC has 104 buttons on a keyboard to give you these options. Consoles – 13, give or take. Again, if it had been designed with PC to console port in mind these issues could have been avoided.

There are others, but I have to stop here. I’d be all night. The simple fact is that the console-oriented approach is going to strangle all the potential awesomeness that can be had here. Console gamers are going to have a blast with their standards, and that’s cool, but a few of us would like to make our processor work for once, instead of twiddling its electrons with wasted cycles.

Yes. I am aware that someone will come up with high res textures that will balloon my Skyrim folder to the sizes I like, and yes I know that there will be mods fixing everything that niggles me, but it gets me that Bethesda can’t do it itself. We are paying them the $100 in Aussie monies after all, in huge numbers. It makes me wonder to what extent they are chasing the almighty buck. Part of me reminds the other part of me that they have been faithful to the franchise thus far, but I can’t help but think that there is laziness and profiteering involved.

I don’t know. Maybe the PC gamer in me is over-reacting and everything will be fine. Oblivion was in this same method of delivery and that too was the game of the year. I’m just concerned. I generally dislike RPGs and this is one of the few exceptions and I desperately do not want it screwed over on my platform of choice; as well as meeting its potential. I just hope that this article does not become correct.

In the meantime I have to decide. Spellsword or ranger?

– Zane M


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This is the bio under which all legacy DigitallyDownloaded.net articles are published (as in the 12,000-odd, before we moved to the new Website and platform). This is not a member of the DDNet Team. Please see the article's text for byline attribution.

  • I had an entire thing written out at least 4 paragraphs, but thanks to me having to signup into some Blogger Google thing, it erased everything and made me angry as all hell, so I give up for now. BUT…

    So in short: I hope this doesn't happen as well! It would be a travesty to have this game hindered by the console market. I'm not a PC Nazi by any means, but I know this company has always pushed even PC to it's limitations. Everything you said made sense, I would of used very similar words/logic.

    Now I know you were trying to be unbiased about console with certain games being best for console specifically, but I have to disagree with that.. even on PC you can plug up a PC controller or Xbox if you so choose and play any style you want, as you know 🙂

  • I had an entire thing written out at least 4 paragraphs, but thanks to me having to signup into some Blogger Google thing, it erased everything and made me angry as all hell, so I give up for now. BUT…

    So in short: I hope this doesn't happen as well! It would be a travesty to have this game hindered by the console market. I'm not a PC Nazi by any means, but I know this company has always pushed even PC to it's limitations. Everything you said made sense, I would of used very similar words/logic.

    Now I know you were trying to be unbiased about console with certain games being best for console specifically, but I have to disagree with that.. even on PC you can plug up a PC controller or Xbox if you so choose and play any style you want, as you know 🙂

  • I couldn't agree more Zane, It really does show how the gaming world has been crippled by greed!. I remember when games were made to push the boundries of technology and we(PC gamer's) spending lots of money for the best hardware to enable development (ATI, Nvidia) in new and better graphics, so the cycle of continuous improvement in gaming can continue….

    This "Backward" technology cause of console DX9 limitations & moreover the "Greed" & "Laziness" of game developers is killing gaming advancement, where has all the passion gone?? to be the best, make the best?

    I really don't have an answer, DX11 console? I don't even think that would work, they don't know enough about it..

    These are sad times

    Xoranium

  • I couldn't agree more Zane, It really does show how the gaming world has been crippled by greed!. I remember when games were made to push the boundries of technology and we(PC gamer's) spending lots of money for the best hardware to enable development (ATI, Nvidia) in new and better graphics, so the cycle of continuous improvement in gaming can continue….

    This "Backward" technology cause of console DX9 limitations & moreover the "Greed" & "Laziness" of game developers is killing gaming advancement, where has all the passion gone?? to be the best, make the best?

    I really don't have an answer, DX11 console? I don't even think that would work, they don't know enough about it..

    These are sad times

    Xoranium

  • Just a further note:

    ATI, Nvidia & Microsoft must be feeling the pain. Why bother buying new tech when equipment 9 years old can max games out.

    Many will say "I can't afford a new rig, this is good news", well is it really?

    In 1996/7 Doom II was released on the PlayStation. 2/3 years later Quake 3 & Unreal Tournament (written with passion) amazed the world and the good old wheel of evolution turned… the following years continued in the same light.. PC's graphical development enabled improved consoles…. Now there is very little development in PC's (DX11) it will be years & years before we see this translated to better console's. The wheel has simply stopped turning.

    Some game developer out there needs to push the limits and get this thing moving or we are in for very dull times.

    Console development depends on PC's, quite obvious when you look at history & how stagnant gaming tech has become.

  • Just a further note:

    ATI, Nvidia & Microsoft must be feeling the pain. Why bother buying new tech when equipment 9 years old can max games out.

    Many will say "I can't afford a new rig, this is good news", well is it really?

    In 1996/7 Doom II was released on the PlayStation. 2/3 years later Quake 3 & Unreal Tournament (written with passion) amazed the world and the good old wheel of evolution turned… the following years continued in the same light.. PC's graphical development enabled improved consoles…. Now there is very little development in PC's (DX11) it will be years & years before we see this translated to better console's. The wheel has simply stopped turning.

    Some game developer out there needs to push the limits and get this thing moving or we are in for very dull times.

    Console development depends on PC's, quite obvious when you look at history & how stagnant gaming tech has become.

  • One game developer WILL push the limits and release a game soo good for the PC (like Crysis 1) and once again the console market will rise from stagnation… somebody pinch me!

    lol I'll shut up now

    Happy gaming 😛

  • One game developer WILL push the limits and release a game soo good for the PC (like Crysis 1) and once again the console market will rise from stagnation… somebody pinch me!

    lol I'll shut up now

    Happy gaming 😛

  • It's all about the monies. Console(s) will sell a shit load more copies than PC. By not selling to the console market, Bethesda are essentially throwing away money and unless you are prepared to split the difference with Bethesda I think they will keep making cross platform games. Who actually still pays $100 for games, they're $89 at most and PC games are like $50-70 new release.

  • It's all about the monies. Console(s) will sell a shit load more copies than PC. By not selling to the console market, Bethesda are essentially throwing away money and unless you are prepared to split the difference with Bethesda I think they will keep making cross platform games. Who actually still pays $100 for games, they're $89 at most and PC games are like $50-70 new release.

  • For the record, the game is out and the interface is absolutely horrible. The keyboard controls aren't the problem. It's the mouse control that makes this game unplayable. If my suspision is correct, the game thinks my mouse is a thumbstick: If I move it a little it doesn't move at all, if I move it alot there is a delay, then a slow movement, then accelerated movement if I keep moving. This all happens in a split second but it means I can't turn my head without flailing for a few seconds while I work out what the hell the game has interpreted my simple mouse movement as.

    In short, I cannot adjust to this control scheme. Skyrim for PC is unplayable.

    Shame, I was quite looking forward to it. Guess I'll go play a better game, like Morrowind.

  • For the record, the game is out and the interface is absolutely horrible. The keyboard controls aren't the problem. It's the mouse control that makes this game unplayable. If my suspision is correct, the game thinks my mouse is a thumbstick: If I move it a little it doesn't move at all, if I move it alot there is a delay, then a slow movement, then accelerated movement if I keep moving. This all happens in a split second but it means I can't turn my head without flailing for a few seconds while I work out what the hell the game has interpreted my simple mouse movement as.

    In short, I cannot adjust to this control scheme. Skyrim for PC is unplayable.

    Shame, I was quite looking forward to it. Guess I'll go play a better game, like Morrowind.

  • It's actually easier to operate having a controller plugged into my pc, that's bad.

    I'm going to have to disagree regarding the graphics engine being wimpy.

    I have a q6600 quad core at 3.0ghz and a GTX 460 1gb overclocked and it gives my machine quite a workout at higher settings. Still the sad fact is that console boys spend more money on bethesda stuff. If pc gamers were buying the majority of their games we'd probably get preference. It makes sense for them to cater to console gamers.

    As for directx 11 discussion, I'm not sure that's relevant as im pretty sure skyrim uses opengl as its renderer not directx?

  • It's actually easier to operate having a controller plugged into my pc, that's bad.

    I'm going to have to disagree regarding the graphics engine being wimpy.

    I have a q6600 quad core at 3.0ghz and a GTX 460 1gb overclocked and it gives my machine quite a workout at higher settings. Still the sad fact is that console boys spend more money on bethesda stuff. If pc gamers were buying the majority of their games we'd probably get preference. It makes sense for them to cater to console gamers.

    As for directx 11 discussion, I'm not sure that's relevant as im pretty sure skyrim uses opengl as its renderer not directx?

  • PC version uses DirectX, it installs it before the game installs.

    If you follow the tweaks (.ini etc) the game doesn't look that bad.

    The point is however, porting from console to pc rather than pc to console is bad for everyone in the long run.

  • PC version uses DirectX, it installs it before the game installs.

    If you follow the tweaks (.ini etc) the game doesn't look that bad.

    The point is however, porting from console to pc rather than pc to console is bad for everyone in the long run.

  • I wouldn't get to upset, the game is still based off of the same style/design of 2005, even IF they dev'd for PC. They still would be using the same old setup. The PROBLEM most of you guys are having or should I say not seeing is this….. They were developing on consoles in hopes to line up with the next gen's, You will stick your nose in the air, but remember when these consoles came out 6 years ago you couldn't beat console graphics/FR without a fairly decent computer, that said. Beth said that they weren't limited by consoles. Thats a load of shit when Sony and Microsoft are going full steam towards a next gen battle by 2014. With each generation we see exponential growth, Mathematically speaking 4th gen consoles should be on par with 2012-2013 Mid range desktops. Back to my point though, Beth admits they were waiting for next gen, but marketing clearly can't wait another 2+ years, which pisses me off. Either Stick to building on PC or if your going to do it console, DONT DO IT on a soon to be dead platform, Hopefully the next TES isn't till 2016 once they figure out everything the PS4 can do.

  • I wouldn't get to upset, the game is still based off of the same style/design of 2005, even IF they dev'd for PC. They still would be using the same old setup. The PROBLEM most of you guys are having or should I say not seeing is this….. They were developing on consoles in hopes to line up with the next gen's, You will stick your nose in the air, but remember when these consoles came out 6 years ago you couldn't beat console graphics/FR without a fairly decent computer, that said. Beth said that they weren't limited by consoles. Thats a load of shit when Sony and Microsoft are going full steam towards a next gen battle by 2014. With each generation we see exponential growth, Mathematically speaking 4th gen consoles should be on par with 2012-2013 Mid range desktops. Back to my point though, Beth admits they were waiting for next gen, but marketing clearly can't wait another 2+ years, which pisses me off. Either Stick to building on PC or if your going to do it console, DONT DO IT on a soon to be dead platform, Hopefully the next TES isn't till 2016 once they figure out everything the PS4 can do.

  • According to an article in gamespy, "Over the three platforms, 59 percent of Skyrim copies were sold for the Xbox 360, 27 percent for the PS3 and 14 percent for PC."

    Developers are going to spend most of their time programming for the console because that is where the money is. They will not waste their time finding ways to give your spanking new hardware a good work out. So… get used to it.

  • ??? That Bethesda knows how to optimize their games is bad for PC gamers?

    STFU I can play Skyrim on high settings on my labtop and I do not consider it a bad thing.

  • ??? That Bethesda knows how to optimize their games is bad for PC gamers?

    STFU I can play Skyrim on high settings on my labtop and I do not consider it a bad thing.

  • I understand your point but couldn't you just enjoy the game? The game has much more to offer than just pretty graphics.

    But you're definitely right, the PC doesn't get the proper treatment it deserves. Much more can be done with the PC in every way. I mean I see why not many major multiplayer games aren't on the PC but when it comes to single player is when the can PC shine."Why the small HDD size? To fit on a single Xbox disc of course. "Say again? You didn't come in clear.

  • I understand your point but couldn't you just enjoy the game? The game has much more to offer than just pretty graphics.

    But you're definitely right, the PC doesn't get the proper treatment it deserves. Much more can be done with the PC in every way. I mean I see why not many major multiplayer games aren't on the PC but when it comes to single player is when the can PC shine."Why the small HDD size? To fit on a single Xbox disc of course. "Say again? You didn't come in clear.

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